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Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on ASTRAZENECA PLC. We currently have 17 research reports from 3 professional analysts.

Market Cap
52 Week
Date Source Announcement
24Feb17 12:32 RNS CHMP positive opinion for ZS-9 in hyperkalaemia
20Feb17 07:00 RNS AZ licenses Zoladex to TerSera for the US & Canada
17Feb17 07:00 RNS Lynparza positive in metastatic BRCA breast cancer
02Feb17 07:00 RNS AZN: FY16 and Q4 2016 Results
01Feb17 16:00 RNS Total Voting Rights
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Breakfast Today

  • 20 Feb 17

"There is was, gone. Having swallowed Kraft in a 2015 deal engineered by Warren Buffett, Heinz enlivened Friday's otherwise lacklustre trading by putting a US$50/share deal on the table for Unilever (ULVR.L). Most thought the 'merger dance' between the two giant consumer groups had only just begun. Following Unilever's initial rejection, a formal proposal was expected to emerge in less than one month ahead of an improved 'final' offer being made in order to finally arrive at a recommended deal. In the process, this sparked speculative excitement from peers like Reckitt Benckiser (RB..L) and PZ Cussons (PZC.L), prompting traders to asking if this might be the starting gun for a new 2017 wave of M&A, led by US groups enjoying the recent Trump-inspired strength of the US$. Huge potential synergies were eyed from such a merger, that would only need Unilever to lift operating margins half way to Heinz's own for the deal to wash its face on the initial terms while also creating a consumer powerhouse to rival Nestlé. An extended period of regulatory abeyance would, of course, be anticipated as swinging conditions are set by international monopolies authorities and politicians, although a team as experienced as Heinz's would have already second-guessed the likely outcome. So Sunday morning's surprise 'amicable' withdrawal, having concluded that a protracted public battle for control would cause more damage than good, comes as a big surprise, big enough in fact to consider that behind the scenes a deal is still being cooked? This time maybe on a friendly basis, emerging perhaps in a few months with a more generous outcome for Unilever shareholders? Donald Trump's rather bazaar weekend rally in Florida does not appear to have knocked the market's confidence in his determination to deliver on reflationary campaign pledges. Following Wall Street upward but uninspiring close on Friday, the Asian markets were generally mixed, with the Chinese markets leading the gains, as the Nikkei trod water and ASX suffered some modest profit taking in minerals groups and financials. UK Macro data due today includes the Rightmove House Price Index and the CBI Industrial Trends Survey for February, with nothing other than a scheduled speech from the FOMC's Loretta Mester due from the US London equities appeared not particularly concerned by Friday's Retail Sales data, which confirmed UK consumers are starting to feel the Brexit pinch, slipping for the third consecutive month, after hitting a 14-year high in October, leaving them to primarily to reflect on corporates due to report earnings or trading updates including Bovis Homes (BVS.L), Dorcaster (DAR.L), Feedback (FDBK.L), Fishing Republic (FISH.L) and Hammerson (HMSO.L). Overall, however, the UK markets are seen continuing to bask in the reflection of Friday Unilever bid with traders, who appear convinced that there is more to the Unilever story than presently meets the eye, seen pushing the FTSE-100 to a 20 point gain in early trading." - Barry Gibb, Research Analyst

Generic threat endangers, but Oncology looks promising

  • 24 Jan 17

AstraZeneca’s weak performance continued in Q3, reflecting a higher than expected decline in Crestor and Symbicort sales, although the revenue drop was capped at 4% (vs 10% in Q2) to $5.7bn. This reflected a decline in product sales of 14% (vs 5% in Q2) to $5bn, partly offset by high externalisation revenue ($674m vs $134m in Q2; $520m ytd was received from the commercial rights to Aspen’s anaesthetics portfolio). All growth numbers at CER unless specific otherwise. Nine months revenue stood at $17.4bn (-3%). Currency had a neutral impact on sales during the quarter. The decline in the respiratory franchise (-8% vs +1% in Q2) pulled down the other growth platforms (+3% vs Q2: +8%; Q1: +6%; formed 62% of total sales ytd) – Brilinta (+25% vs +51% in Q2), Diabetes (+6% vs +13% in Q2) and Emerging markets (+3% vs +9% in Q2). Of the main drugs, underperformance was led by the rising genericisation of the quadrumvirate – Crestor (-44% vs Q2: -29%; Q1: +2%), Seroquel (-26% vs Q2: -14%; Q1: -21%), Nexium (-21% vs Q2: -13%; Q1: -24%) and Symbicort (-17% vs Q2: -4%; Q1: -7%); altogether resulting in a $1.8bn sales loss yoy – and a low FluMist contribution (-61% vs Q2: -57%; Q1: -29%). Cost containment was again better-than-expected in COGS (-6%) and SG&A (-8%), offset to some extent by high R&D (+4%), leading to a lower decline in reported operating profit (-29% vs -64% in Q2), which stood at $1bn. Core operating profit (which excludes restructuring, amortisation/depreciation/impairment, legal costs, etc.) was down 13% (vs 21% in Q2) to $1.7bn. While debt pertaining to ZS Pharma and Acerta Pharma continued to weigh on earnings, the one-time benefit of $453m following agreements (related to transfer pricing) between the Canadian, the UK and Swedish tax authorities supported the net profit of $1bn (vs net loss in Q2). Full-year guidance of low to mid single-digit declines in both revenue and core EPS was maintained. FX is expected to be neutral on sales, but have a low to mid single-digit benefit on core EPS. Core R&D costs are expected to be ahead of those in 2015, while core SG&A is anticipated to fall. The full-year tax rate is expected to be below the 16-20% range.

Breakfast Today

  • 18 Jan 17

While advanced media notice of key aspects from Theresa May’s speech took the sting out of the event itself, Sterling undertook its biggest rally since 2008 on the basis of her exacting presentation and the fact that UK corporates can now at least plan for a formal exit from the single market. Most commentators thought the PM was demanding both to have her cake and eat it, while injecting veiled threats should the EU decide to adopt a hard line for good measure but, in reality, this has to be her starting point. Considering the two or three months of ground preparation needed following the enacting of Article 50, plus the 4 or 5 months required to gain approval from all the EU’s national parliaments, the remaining 16 to 18 months barely looks enough to get a comprehensive framework in place, particularly given that it will also be subject to approval here by both MPs and Peers. To hope that the process will also have been sufficiently engineered to permit what she wishes to be “a smooth and orderly Brexit”, is possibly asking for too much. So something looks like it will have to give, which is a concern given that pricing data released yesterday morning confirmed December’s UK inflation had accelerated to its fastest pace in more than two years with Sterling’s step decline driving a surge in import cost. Now at 1.6%, CPI is within striking distance of the Bank of England’s 2% target which it believes will be breached early summer. Although Mark Carney is expected permit the economy to ‘run hot’ for the whole of 2017 unless the figure spikes a full percent above his preferred ceiling, UK’s highly indebted economy will likely already be slowing the following year just when it will be knocked further by a series of interest rate hikes. Not the best circumstances to confront the realities of life outside the EU! Having thrown the markets yet another googly, Donald Trump describing the US$ as “too strong” was enough to unnerve the principal US equity indices which all ended in negative territory. Asia also suffered from his apparently haphazard commentary, closing mixed to down as the US$ recovered slightly from its earlier dive to a 1-month low against the international basket, with Chinese equities the only ones confident enough to stay in the positive. While Theresa May heads for Davos in order to convince world leaders she has a winning Brexit strategy, the UK is due to release unemployment data as the also EU publishes its December Consumer Price Index. A batch of US macro releases, such as the Redbook, Consumer Prices, Industrial Production and the NAHB Housing Market Index, can be expected this afternoon. A batch of US macro releases, such as the Redbook, Consumer Prices, Industrial Production and the NAHB Housing Market Index, can also be expected. UK corporates due to provide earnings or trading updates include Anglo Pacific (APF.L), Diploma (DPLM.L), Experian (EXPN.L), Ladbrokes Coral (LCL.L), Pearson (PSON.L), Premier Foods (PFD.L), Watkin Jones (WJG.L) and Weatherspoons (JDW.L). While media comment regarding Rolls-Royce’s involvement in contract bribery will generate some market gossip this morning, traders will also be more focussed on quarterly earnings anticipated from a number of US majors this afternoon. Against this background, London is seen opening gently firmer this morning, with the FTSE-100 rising 15 points or so in early trade.

Breakfast Today

  • 11 Nov 16

"Just when investors though they would be waking up to the mother of all Trump hangovers, the Dow Jones surges to a fresh all-time record. But what's going on in the debt markets? After all, recent successful presidencies can be traced back to stability in US government bonds. Yesterday, the fixed income sell-off that started with Treasuries on Wednesday began to spread across the world as traders reacted to the prospect of a giant US fiscal stimulus, and have even started to ask whether Trump's victory in fact spells the end of their market's extended bull run. For sure, his proposal to hit US corporates with large offshore cash deposits with a one-time 10% charges, irrespective of whether the funds are repatriated or not, would go some way filling the IRS's coffers, even if there can be no certainty whether they would then choose to invest the surplus or simply give it back to shareholders. Indeed, this point was seen to unsettle tech stocks last night, with the NASDAQ quite sharply down while the Dow and S&P-500 remained well supported. Whatever, an unsettled and divided US yearns for clear vision and immediate action on where the economy is going and Trump knows that his credibility will be tested during his first 100 days in office. But even with control of both congressional chambers his far-reaching plans, ranging from tax reform to renegotiating global trade pacts, will still take as much as two years to become law. European leaders appear anxious to use this breathing space in order to consider their own position within a changing world order, as German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble made clear in a speech yesterday. Meanwhile, with the Fed's Jeffrey Lacker overnight noted that the case for raising interest rates remains strong, Janet Yellen's scheduled testimony on Capitol Hill will undoubtedly be one of next week's highlights. Asia also put in a more sombre performance earlier today, as counterarguments circulated between brokers regarding the prospect of high import tariffs/international trade war and a reflated global economy, with the US$-biased Hang Seng being the only loser amongst other modestly firmer indices. With just UK construction figures due for release this morning and no major corporates due to report, London's markets are expected to largely tread water today awaiting more news from Washington; the FTSE-100 is seen fluctuating some 5 or so points either side of unchanged in early trading." - Barry Gibb, Research Analyst

Breakfast Today

  • 04 Oct 16

"Chancellor Philip Hammond’s speech at the party conference yesterday delivered on most expectations. As predicted, Sterling continued to be the fall guy, sliding close to a 30-year low against the US$, the results of which had already been amply demonstrated by the release of much stronger than expected September PMI data. Jettisoning his predecessor’s plan to achieve fiscal surplus by 2020, the market is now starting to call for much more that the relatively modest boosts provided to housebuilders/constructors and tech innovation in his speech. Indeed, since most forecasters expect next year’s enactment of Article 50 to compound investment uncertainty, resulting in slower growth and lower tax revenues, he will have to do more that just take his foot off the ‘austerity pedal’. Indeed, the government may see the need to fund significant new infrastructural and regeneration programmes, with a view to staunching a potential downward spiral in economic confidence or rocketing unemployment over the next 30 or so months. Not that Hammond wanted it, but the Fed’s William Dudley also reminded markets yesterday of the problems that continue to be experienced by the world’s increasingly impotent central banks. His statement noted insights being gathered “..have important implications for the appropriate path for monetary policy and the question of whether monetary policy makers need additional tools or greater support from the fiscal authorities”. Dudley’s suggestion was not particularly new, but still enough to send a shiver down the spine of the US equity markets, with all principal indices closing modestly negative as some cashed-in profits from the rally of the past few days. Asia closed mixed with only Japan making a reasonable gain due to a weaker Yen and despite the BoJ being forced to lower its inflation outlook still further. The Shanghai Composite was closed for the second day, leaving the Hang Seng and the ASX to make only fractional negative movements. The UK has no major macro data scheduled for release this morning, although the IMF will produce its World Economic Outlook. Amongst London’s corporates, earnings figures or trading updates are anticipated only from various second tier companies such as Greggs (GRG.L), Quantum Pharma (QP..L), Revolution Bars (RBG.L), ScS Group (SCS.L) and St Ives (SIV.L). Later this afternoon, Google is holding a media event in San Francisco, while traders will also be listening for further updates from RBS regarding its reported US$120m settlement with the US courts due to the lender’s underwriting of residential mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis. London equities are seen opening in an undecided mood, with the FTSE-100 losing 5 or so points in early trading on relatively light volumes." - Barry Gibb, Research Analyst